Engineering & manufacturing

Manufacturing may be in decline in Britain, with figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that output fell for the 12th consecutive month to February 2009 – but the 14 Hot 100 companies in this sector are doing a roaring trade.  

Multi-disciplinary engineering firm List Group (1st) tops the list with a bumper compound annual growth rate of 374 per cent. Founded in 1971 by Terry List, the business skyrocketed when it started diversifying.

Aberdeen-based RBG (6th) is a drilling, construction and operations support company with workers in countries from Qatar to Trinidad. A major merger saw sales increase from £14.5m in 2005 to £257m in 2008.

Sitec Group (27th) is 99 per cent owned by the Medlock family. Leonard Medlock started the engineering group nearly 60 years ago.

Compared to Sitec Group, Daniel Contractors (56th) is a pup – but a sizeable one. Founded in 1994, this £243m-turnover contractor employs more than 1,000 people today.

Underwater positioning equipment firm Sonardyne (61st) doesn’t court the limelight for fear of unwanted attention from buyers. No wonder the vultures are circling. Turnover hit £47.9m last year.

Steetley Dolomite (65th) supplied dolomitic lime to the steel industry for years before it was bought by the Redland Group in 1992 and then by French giant Lafarge SA six years later. Following an MBO in 2004, it’s back in private (and British) hands. Sales have jumped an annual 50 per cent since the buyout.

Engineering colossus Langley Holdings (67th) serves 15 different industry sectors with a product range spanning plaster of Paris for hospital casts and nuclear submarine equipment. S&C Group (68th) also makes a variety of products, from cut-to-size timber to TV stands.

By offering fixed-price contracts for engineering work, recruitment firm Omega Resource Group (74th) has found a way to “share the risk”, says founder James Strickland.

Mike Pickles of Really Useful Products (87th) says his box-making firm will breeze through the recession: “Boxes are like lipstick. People will buy them whatever the climate.”

Electrical contractor Warmsley Services (94th) specialises in local contracts and employs local people. Speedboard Assembly Services (98th) is also focused domestically, producing tailor-made circuit boards and turning over £8m.

Securefast (76th) is also pulling in sales of £8m, making its own range of locks for retailers and wholesalers.

Avalon Sciences (95th) makes widgets to help firms in 50 countries find crude oil. Director Bill Hall says the firm “still has a full order book.”

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